Rick Pitino went off during a pregame news conference about the Louisville escort scandal and the media, and it was a doozy.
Pitino hadn’t done a pregame press conference for several weeks, and was criticized for skipping media availability after the team’s loss to Kentucky. Friday’s presser started with a fairly innocuous question asking whether he’d flipped off the fans or not, and it turned into an explanation as to why he skipped the press conferences surrounding the Kentucky game, then a diatribe about the Louisville scandal and the coverage of it.
“I did not,” Pitino said to answer the question, via WDRB. “It wasn’t fans, per se, I was in the tunnel, and it’s really not important. And I’ll say this to you guys, you guys think it’s important, and I respect if you say I should show up for a press conference and you write it, that’s not what I’m pissed off at you about.
“I wasn’t doing the press conference because it’s a very emotional game for me. When we go into a press conference in a neighborhood like that, I don’t want to hear about the scandal, OK? I don’t want to hear about that. That has bothered me every single night.”
Pitino turned his fire toward a local journalist, WDRB’s Rick Bozich, and took issue with his reporting. He also took issue with ESPN and other organizations giving the mistress at the center of the alleged scandal, Katina Powell, a platform to tell the story.
“What bothers me about you is you say, I know everybody’s body fat, you must know about this (events in the dorm). That pisses me off, beyond your wildest dreams. Because that took place in Billy Minardi Hall, and we didn’t get one recruit. Somebody criminally came onto our campus. I’m pissed off at ESPN for even giving a forum to that person. If there are crimes — now I didn’t read the book, you guys read the book, so I only know what people tell me — but if there are crimes being committed, why is the NCAA or ESPN giving a forum to that person. If there are crimes, now I don’t know if there are crimes being committed.”
Pitino also took aim at Powell’s claim that she kept a journal over four years detailing the events at Louisville, again pressing ESPN and other organizations for not pressing her on it.
“Correct me if I’m wrong on this,” Pitino said. “The statement was made, ‘You mean to tell me this person kept a four-year log of everything that was going on? Wrote a journal about this?’ No, no, we wrote it. She can’t complete two sentences the right way to write a book. That was said. Is that the way it was said? So you mean to tell me a book was written, a four-year record was kept? There was no four-year record. You’ve got to be kidding me. So nobody goes after, ESPN doesn’t go after, are you telling the truth? Did you keep a four year journal? Did you write it? Or was it written just to get this book out because the excerpts were going to be given to The Courier-Journal or The Courier-Journal was going to get hold of it?”
Pitino divulged that the NCAA had not yet spoken to him as part of their investigation, but once again asserted that he knew nothing about what was happening – which Powell has disputed – and that he would have taken immediate action if he did know.
“I guarantee you if anybody knew about it, and it got back to me, all hell,” Pitino said. “And I really feel the same way about my assistant coaches, the same way about them. I think they’re an extension of me. I think if they would have known anything, all held would have broken loose. So in 2016, this will be the last time I ever mention it. But I am getting it off my chest now, because I want to say it one time. And I really don’t care about what anybody thinks, why I don’t show up at a press conference, I couldn’t care less.”
Pitino closed by admitting that someone involved with the program – almost certainly former assistant Andre McGee – had acted inappropriately and “wronged” the university.
“I believe in the way we do things, and I believe we have been wronged. We have been wronged. Now, did one person do some scurrilous things? I believe so. From what I know now, I believe so. The only thing I don’t know, I don’t know why he did it. I just, for the life of me, can’t figure out — he knew better, he was taught better, by his parents and by me.”
Pitino said that he won’t be speaking about the scandal again in 2016, but he has made his feelings quite clear about Powell, McGee, his role in the alleged scandal, and the media coverage of it.
Video emerged after Kentucky’s 75-73 victory over Louisville that purportedly shows Rick Pitino flipping off Kentucky fans.
Louisville tried to storm back from 16 points down on Saturday, but Kentucky held on to get the win. As Pitino was headed to the tunnel, someone yelled “one and done” to him, and he allegedly flipped the bird to Kentucky fans. Here’s the video, via Kentucky Sports Radio. You be the judge:
I find it impossible to tell, personally, even after zooming in on a screenshot of it. Naturally, Kentucky fans will swear that he did, while Louisville fans will swear this is nonsense. You can see why someone would suspect the bird, but you can’t actually see the bird – if anything, it looks like a fist.
What would this rivalry be without a little controversy?
UPDATE: Pitino denied flipping off the fans via a text message to ESPN.com, saying people were saying “ugly crude things” to him and he made a gesture emphasizing that we are number one. He did not speak with reporters after the loss.
One of the biggest questions about the Louisville Cardinals sex scandal is whether Rick Pitino had any knowledge of the sex parties.
Pitino denies having any knowledge of the sex parties former staffer Andre McGee arranged through madam Katina Powell. The details of the parties became public thanks to a book published by Powell. Pitino has even tried to pass the buck onto McGee and wants the current UMKC coach to “tell the truth” about the parties aka take all the blame.
McGee supposedly was arranging the sex parties — many of which occurred in a dorm — for recruits and their family members, as well as members of the Cardinals program. Between what was going on and what McGee told her, Powell believes the head coach knew what was going on.
Powell said she asked McGee whether Pitino knew about the parties: “I said, ‘Does Pitino know about this?’ And he said, ‘He’s Rick. He knows about everything.'”
While Powell said she has no firsthand knowledge that Pitino knew about the parties, she finds it hard to believe he wouldn’t have: “Four years, a boatload of recruits, a boatload of dancers, loud music, alcohol, security, cameras, basketball players who came in [to the dorm] at will … “
The natural reaction from Louisville fans would be to criticize Powell’s character like McGee’s lawyer did, but she does have a point.
While I can’t believe Pitino would condone one of his staff members paying for players and recruits to have sex with strippers, I can believe he would give staffers handling recruits the autonomy to “do whatever it takes” to land top recruits. Some coaches choose to bury their heads in the sand and look the other way, preferring not to know exactly what was done to lock up some recruits. If that were the case, Pitino would be guilty of negligence, which could qualify as a lack of institutional control in the eyes of the NCAA.
Rick Pitino is denying any and all knowledge of the stripper and sex parties his Louisville Cardinals program is accused of running, and he is putting the onus on former staff member Andre McGee.
In a conference call with ESPN and Yahoo held Tuesday, the Louisville basketball coach said the NCAA, which is investigating the matter, advised him not to speak. However, Pitino said he wants McGee, now a coach at the University of Missouri- Kansas City, to come forth about the issue.
“There’s only one person who can speak on this matter, and that’s Andre McGee,” Pitino said via Yahoo’s Pat Forde. “He owes it to his teammates, coaches and the university to tell the truth. The truth has got to come out, and it can’t just be to the NCAA. He’s the only one with any answers.
“Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know. … Obviously by what people are saying, something did go on, but there’s only one person who knows the truth. Everything else is absurd. I don’t care about the legal issues. If he’s done something wrong, he has to own up to it and do his penance.
“We know on the other end of the book, this is all about money. People will say and do anything for money. If these things are not true, and I keep using the word if, only one person who can give these solutions to these problems. … This is not only an NCAA issue here. It’s more than that. There’s more to it. His teammates that believed in him, his coaches that believed in him, the community that believed in him, put our trust in him to do the right things. If he’s done the wrong things, he needs to own up to it. If he hasn’t, he needs to say it’s a lie.”
McGee, who was on the Louisville staff from 2010-2014, first as a graduate assistant, is currently on paid administrative leave from UMKC. Katina Powell, the self-described madam who wrote a book detailing the parties she says she was hired to provide female entertainment for, says McGee was the point man in setting it all up. She says he paid her thousands of dollars to have women dance for Louisville players, recruits and even family members of the recruits, and to also have sex with them.
The NBA Draft is on Thursday. And while it’s anyone’s guess at this point who will end up where, one thing is for sure. D’Angelo Russell won’t have to wait long to hear his name called.
Russell was Big Ten Freshman of the Year this past season and a First Team All-American after averaging 19 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5 assists for Ohio State. He was also a regular on highlight reels thanks to his passing ability.
It’s his knack for picking out teammates with pinpoint passes that has NBA scouts drooling and many thinking he is a star in the making. Among those singing the praises of Russell is Rick Pitino. The Louisville head coach said Russell is the best passer he’s seen come along outside of Magic Johnson.
“Anytime you have that type of passing skills and that offensive mind for the game I think you’re going to be something special,” Pitino went on to say in the interview with ESPN’s Hannah Storm.
That’s certainly high praise, but Rick Pitino has seen more than his fair share of basketball over the years, both professionally and collegiate. While there have been plenty of great distributors since Magic Johnson, passes like this can’t help but make you think of the Lakers great and Hall of Famer.
Rick Pitino was proud of his team for beating UC Irvine on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament despite a scare, but he’s not delusional about his squad’s abilities.
After the Cardinals squeezed out a 57-55 win that came down to the final seconds, Pitino was interviewed by TBS and acknowledged that his team is not championship caliber.
“We survive and move on and that’s what it was, survive…We’re not a great team this year, but we’ve made it to the round of 32,” Pitino said.
Pitino would know a great team when he sees one about as well as anyone else. He took the Cardinals to the Final Four in 2012, won the national championship the next year, and he took them to the Sweet 16 last season. That’s probably why he had such amazing praise for Kentucky — he knows how good they are.
Pitino knows his team isn’t playing its best and that they were 3-3 without Chris Jones, who was dismissed from the team, entering the game. Still, though they may be underdogs against Northern Iowa, Pitino is a great coach and not someone you want to pick against.
Kentucky is an awesome, historically-good college basketball team, and nobody may be higher on them than Rick Pitino.
Though Pitino coaches the rival Louisville Cardinals, he had plenty of praise for the Wildcats when speaking about them on Tuesday. He even cracked a great line saying that their toughest opponent is probably their reserve players.
“Kentucky can beat you so many different ways. Probably the best team they’ve played against is their second team,” Pitino wisecracked.
“There’s so many things at (John Calipari’s disposal). If the backcourt’s not playing well, he comes with a lottery pick and one of the premier freshman point guards in the nation. God forbid somebody doesn’t attempt to block a shot or offensive rebound, they’re coming out of the game and some other air craft carrier is coming in. So he’s got that luxury of being able to substitute based on effort and play.
“They have a great transition game. They pass and shoot it well. And then their third offense is their offensive rebounding.”
Pitino also talked about what it would take to beat the 34-0 Wildcats, who have been taken to overtime twice but have not lost yet.
“What’s it going to take to beat them and who can beat them? My own personal opinion: Wisconsin probably is the closest team because of their size and their shooting ability and style of play.”
Kentucky would face Wisconsin in a Final Four matchup if both teams make it that far.
Pitino then compared Kentucky to the 1985 Georgetown team that was upset by Villanova in the championship game.
“I think it’s going to take a Villanova performance to beat them, and Kentucky’s going to have to not play well.”
The Hoyas were loaded that year with several future NBA players, including Patrick Ewing, Reggie Williams and David Wingate, but they were beaten. Pitino believes it will take a perfect game to defeat Kentucky.
“They don’t have a weakness. Their post game is awesome. Their bench is awesome. They’re very well drilled at every fundamental. So it’s going to take a team that plays a perfect game to beat them.”
That’s exactly why I have picked them to win it all (yes, a real upset). You can see all of my picks here. I also don’t have Louisville going too far; they haven’t been the same since kicking Chris Jones off the team.
Rick Pitino was very disappointed after Louisville was bounced from the ACC Tournament on Thursday at the hands of a 70-60 loss to North Carolina, so he decided to take it out on a student reporter.
Before opening things up for questions, Pitino said in his opening remarks that the Cardinals “went cold” when North Carolina switched to zone defense. When student reporter Derek Brightwell of the Louisville Cardinal asked Pitino why his team is struggling so much against the zone, salty Rick went off on him.
“Well, you obviously see, if you’re from the Louisville Cardinal, that we’re not a great shooting team so that’s a pretty silly question to ask,” Pitino barked. “You watched the game, didn’t you? So you don’t have to be an X and O genius to figure that one out, do you?”
Brightwell was a good sport about it after the press conference.
Got thrashed by Pitino at the presser, but the @CardChronicle comment section was talking about me. Also picked up 4 followers. #illtakeit
What was so unreasonable about that question? Even if Louisville is struggling against the zone because they are a poor shooting team, how does Pitino plan to fix it? You don’t just head into the NCAA Tournament accepting that your team is ineffective against the zone and leave it at that. Perhaps Brightwell could have asked Pitino what adjustments he plans to make to prevent that, but Pitino knew exactly what he meant.
Louisville defeated Savannah State on Monday night in a game that looked like it featured a Division-1 NCAA team playing a local high school. The final score was 87-26. It took Savannah State nearly 16 minutes to score a single point, and Louisville led 41-7 going into halftime.
It could have been worse. There was very little Rick Pitino could do to keep his team from embarrassing the opposition. He alluded to that with an incredible quote after the game.
“I don’t like to see any team struggle like that. I really don’t,” Pitino said, via Jeff Eisenberg of The Dagger. “I mean, we played four white guys and an Egyptian. We tried everything.”
He wasn’t kidding. Pitino played 15 guys in the game, including three walk-ons and 7-footer Anas Mahmoud, who is from Egypt. He sat his starters early in the second half and ordered his team to stop executing their usual full-court press defense. Pitino also said after the game that his team will learn nothing from Monday night’s game film and that he felt bad for Savannah State.
Playing keep-away for 20 minutes would have been even more humiliating, so Pitino did what he could. Savannah State ended up shooting 10-for-51 from the floor.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino says there is one more thing star point guard Russ Smith needs to work on to improve his game.
Smith shot 3-for-10 and committed 7 turnovers in Louisville’s win over Saint Louis in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
Quick Rick, talking about Smith’s shaky game, says the point guard needs to learn how other teams are going to play him and respond accordingly.
“Russ Smith has grown so much as a basketball player, but he still has one thing left, and I tried to explain this to him at halftime, but he has a very difficult time, he’s a distracted young man, understanding this. I said, Russ, there’s a lot better coaches than me in the other locker room, but picture if I was in the other locker room. Do you think I would even let you breathe any time down the court? Do you think I would let you breathe? He says, no, Coach, you would double me, you would trap me. I said, so don’t you think the other coaches are doing the same thing?” Pitino said after the game via the Louisville Courier-Journal.
“All the great ones from Michael Jordan to Kobe, they don’t try to score 20 points in the first quarter. They get everybody else the ball and they let the game come to me and the other team fatigues and things open up. So his last lesson is to play like he did in the second half and not come out. He doesn’t understand the scouting of the other teams. He’s all Michael, all Kobe. But he doesn’t get that those guys in the other locker room are a lot smarter than me. He doesn’t get it. So we’re going to give him shock treatment on Monday.”
Think Pitino is frustrated with Smith? Sure seems like it.
Russdiculous has shot 46.9 percent from the field this season, which is his career-high. His assists-to-turnovers ratio is also the highest of his career. If he could just get this last thing down, he’d be all set.